Cunningham Leads The Way

SAINTS U19s followed in the footsteps of their Reserves counterparts in coming to Victoria Park and departing with the points after a dominant 50-24 display, writes Graham Henthorne.

The Saints raced into a ten point lead after only six minutes thanks to two tries on the bounce. Aaron Smith opened the scoring darting over at dummy half after some powerful running from Levy Nzoungou.

The big French prop, having his best game for some time, was instrumental in Saints second try to Regan Grace. From the kick off the Saints marched to half way then on the last decided to run it down the left flank. Smith jumped out from the play the ball feeding Ben Morris. The second row committed his defender before setting Lewis Furlong free. He took it to the full back before giving Grace the easiest of walk-ins.

A silly late tackle from Captain Liam Cooper gave the Wolves field position and poor left side defence allowed the centre in to score.

But that was as close as the Wolves got as the Saints forwards continued to pound their opponents down the middle allowing Rob Fairclough and Danny Richardson acres of space in which to run the game.

Grace should’ve scored his second by taking Smith’s miss pass before Jonah Cunningham crossed for his first storming onto a delightful short pass from Fairclough.

Cooper and Morris both bombed tries dropping the ball over the line before Mike Weldon got the Saints fourth. A penalty for a late shoulder charge on Fairclough gave the Saints field position and drives from Cooper and Callum Hazzard took the Saints close before Fairclough fed Weldon and the loose forward took three over with him for a well taken try.

The Wolves received a ten minute hair drying at the break which had zero effect as the Saints came out and repeated their start to the first period scoring twice in the opening five minutes.

Mike Weldon set the tone with a big hit on the opening tackle of the half. On receiving possession Fairclough set the ever impressive Jordan Olmez free and the props inside ball found first Ricky Bailey and then Cunningham. From the play the ball a fabulous dummy from Richardson took him through the line and he fed Cunningham for a carbon copy of his first.

Olmez was in his element by now and two more punishing drives set up Alex Eckley to burst through a tackle on his way to a 20 metre run to the line for his first try at this level.

The Saints went off the ball a touch aided by a string of penalties and an outrageous decision to instruct Fairclough to hand the ball back to the Wolves from a perfectly legal one-on-one ball strip, which allowed the home side to score twice in quick succession.

However, on the hour normal service was resumed as Ricky Bailey did what all good full backs do he supported his half back to score to the left of the posts.

Dave Eccleston got his name on the sheet finishing acrobatically in the corner taking a great tip pass from Matty Costello from a blind side scrum move.

The Wolves made the score more respectable than it should have been with two tries in the final ten minutes but sandwiched in between was Cunningham’s third try, again charging onto the ball at pace to score unopposed.

This was a great derby result for a very young Saints side. Deprived due to injury of older more experienced players such as Jake Spedding and Matty Lees the younger players led by Olmez, and Jorge Lewtas plugged the gap admirably. Nzoungou looked back to his best in his first stint and the impact off the bench of Eckley and Hazzard was tremendous.

Smith, Fairclough and increasingly Richardson moved the team effortlessly around the field allowing Weldon and especially Cunningham to showcase their wares.
Warrington Wolves U19s:
Tries: Jack Roper (11 & 72), James Jones (52), Jack Fox (55 & 78), .
Goals: Morgan Smith 2.

Saints U19s:
Tries: Aaron Smith (4), Regan Grace (6), Jonah Cunningham (20, 42 & 74), Mike Weldon (33), Alex Eckley (45), Ricky Bailey (60), Dave Eccleston (67).
Goals: Danny Richardson 7.

Half Time: 22-4
Full Time: 50-24


1. Declan Kay; 2. Lewis Turner, 3. Jack Roper, 4. Charlie Phythian, 5. Jack Fox; 6. Brad Stanway, 7. Morgan Smith; 8. Andy Philbin, 9. Reece Brunt, 18. Jordan Williams, 11. Matthew Kilgannon, 12. James Jones, 13. Harvey Livett.
Subs: 14. Alex Whalley, 15. Jay Neath, 17. Pat Moran, 22. Harry Reardon.

1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Dave Eccleston, 3. Matty Costello, 4. Lewis Furlong, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Rob Fairclough, 7. Danny Richardson; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Jorge Lewtas, 11. Liam Cooper (C), 12. Ben Morris, 13. Mike Weldon.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 16. Alex Eckley, 17. Callum Hazzard, 18. Jordan Olmez.

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